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Changing food habits hit growth of Mumbai dabbawalas

Craze for fast food among the youngsters has led to stagnation in the growth of dabbawalas' clients.

Written by Agencies | Thiruchirapalli | October 19, 2011 11:37:09 am

Craze for fast food and growing trend among the youngsters to eat out have led to near stagnation in the customer base of famed Mumbai dabbawalas,who deliver lunch boxes to over two lakh Mumbaikars every day,according to a management consultant.

“In recent years,there had been no significant increase in the customer base of the 120-year-old business as the new entrants to the country’s commercial capital have different tastes and perception of food habits,” Pawan G Agrawal,president of Mumbai Dabbawala Education Centre,said.

He attributes the trend to the change in food habits,especially among youngsters who prefer fast food and snacks than homemade lunch and mass exodus of Mumbaikars to other cities across the country and overseas.

Besides,in-house eateries and restaurants established by large corporates and factories have also contributed to the stagnation in the growth of clients for the dabbawalas,known as the masters of supply chain management for their precision work in reaching the food in time to office-goers.

However,their loyal customer base continues with over two lakh customers served by 5,000 plus dabbawalas,whose average literacy rate is only eighth grade,Agrawal said during a visit here recently.

“The main reason for the success in maintaining 99.99 per cent accuracy was the inculcation of service motive than claiming labour rights,” Agrawal,who has made extensive research on the working of the dabbawalas,said.

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